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Author Topic: Japanese capture theories  (Read 68640 times)

Sheila Shigley

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2010, 11:23:25 PM »

Has Wayne Green's story been checked out?  I'm sure it must have been, but I searched TIGHAR and didn't find a reference.  Unfortunately his comments include some sarcastic references to TIGHAR's efforts - I didn't include them:

"Back in 1928-1930, when my dad was the designer and manager of Philadelphia’s Central Airport, Amelia kept her Lockeed Orion there. I used to climb into the cockpit and pretend to fly it. And dad had her out to our house in Pennsauken (NJ) for dinner several times. She and Tommy Luddington owned Luddington Airlines, America’s first airline. I still remember being on the inaugural flight between Philadelphia and Newark in 1928.

    In 1936 Bob Wemple, a good friend of my dad’s and Amelia's chief mechanic, came out to dinner at our house and explained that he had just outfitted her Lockheed with larger engines and extra gas tanks so she could, on her around-the-world flight make the hop from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island by way of Truk Island so she could take spy pictures of the Japanese installation there for President Roosevelt, who had earlier been the Secretary of the Navy. The Navy wanted to know what the Japanese were doing there.

    With the more powerful engines she would be able to make the trip to Howland Island via Truk in about the same time as she would have been able to do it flying direct with her standard engines. Bob said these pictures were the whole reason for her flight."

http://www.waynegreen.com/wayne/news-archive_2007.html

Another version here:

http://blogs.computerworld.com/tech_visionary_offers_real_dope_on_amelia_earhardt
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2010, 06:33:19 AM »

Has Wayne Green's story been checked out?

There's nothing to check out.  Earhart did not have an Orion.  It was a Vega.  Bureau of Air Commerce inspection reports and dozens of photos show that the Electra had exactly the same engines from the time it was delivered in July 1936 until it disappeared a year later.   In 1936 Bob Wemple could not possibly have known about a planned detour in the flight from Lae to Howland because at that time the flight was expected to be from Howland to Lae.  An Earhart spy mission would be one of the best kept secrets in American history.  To this day there is not a shred of evidence that such a thing occurred, and yet Mr. Green alleges that the plan was casually revealed over dinner.

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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2010, 07:22:19 AM »

While I find it logical the government would ask for surveillance favors (my missionary grandparents were occasionally asked for the same), referring to the wrong plane is hardly the path to credibility (for Green or me!).  Thank you, and I'll do more fact-checking next time.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2010, 07:35:59 AM »

While I find it logical the government would ask for surveillance favors (my missionary grandparents were occasionally asked for the same), referring to the wrong plane is hardly the path to credibility (for Green or me!).

Live and learn!

FWIW, I've added Wayne Green to the article about alternative theories.

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Thank you, and I'll do more fact-checking next time.

No problem.  The fact that Green had problems remembering the type of aircraft suggests that he may also have problems remembering the actual dinner conversation.  NR16020, n 10E Special, did, in fact, have "oversize" engines and huge interior fuel tanks compared to a standard Electra. 

You could, if you wanted to play detective for a little while, check out some other parts of Green's story to see if they stand up to critical investigation. 

Was his father really designer and manager of Philadelphia’s Central Airport?

Did AE and Tommy Luddington own Luddington Airlines, America’s first airline?

Was Green really on the inaugural flight between Philadelphia and Newark in 1928?

Was Bob Wemple really Amelia's chief mechanic?

Was AE's Vega, in fact, at the airport as he claims it was? 

Just because he is wrong about some things, it does not follow that he is wrong about everything.  It seems not inconceivable to me that Wemple and Green's dad may have speculated about the rationale for the trip, given that there had been six other round-the-world flights (by my count).  Unless Green made a recording or transcript of the conversation, we have only his adult "memory" to go on as a record of what was and was not really said that night.
LTM,

           Marty
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2010, 10:06:22 AM »

To be fair to Mr. Green, I just found another quote:

"We moved from Philly across the river to Merchantville, NJ, to be closer to the airport. I'd often ride my bike to the airport after school and play around the planes…including Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega. Well, I think is was the Vega, but it may have been the Lockheed Orion. It was the nicest plane at the airport."

I'll start fact-checking some of the other details...

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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2010, 10:07:39 AM »

To be fair to Mr. Green, I just found another quote:

"We moved from Philly across the river to Merchantville, NJ, to be closer to the airport. I'd often ride my bike to the airport after school and play around the planes…including Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega. Well, I think is was the Vega, but it may have been the Lockheed Orion. It was the nicest plane at the airport."

I'll start fact-checking some of the other details...I should probably add that even though this has ended up under "capture" theories, I don't necessarily think a possible government surveillance component to her flight precludes crashing onto Niku.


« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 10:38:13 AM by moleski »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2010, 10:54:28 AM »

I'll start fact-checking some of the other details ...

Great!

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I should probably add that even though this has ended up under "capture" theories, I don't necessarily think a possible government surveillance component to her flight precludes crashing onto Niku.

No, they are not mutually exclusive ideas, in principle.

I guess I haven't pulled together all of the material on why thinking that AE and FN were on a spy mission doesn't make sense, given the limitations of the equipment available in 1936-1937.  All I can do at the moment is to make a list of the things that I believe have been discussed in earlier incarnations of the Amelia Earhart Search Forum.  Feel free to poke around the website for yourself.

  • No training for AE and FN as military observers.
  • No fittings for aerial photography on the aircraft.
  • No one to help them home in on Truk.
  • Flight time from known departure at 10:00AM local time in Lae to Truk would bring them there at dusk.
  • The additional mileage for such a flight might have exceeded the known limits of the aircraft.
  • The things to be seen could easily have been scouted by other, more reliable methods.
  • There wasn't much to be seen in 1937 in any event.
  • The government didn't need to see anything to know what the Japanese were doing in the Pacific.
LTM,

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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2010, 11:25:23 AM »

Thank you - I'll read through these!
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Don Dollinger

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2010, 01:01:43 PM »

Very interesting thread.  Have looked at the most popular theories, crashed in the sea, crashed on or near New Guinea, captured by Japs, landed on Niku (didn't spend much time on abducted by aliens.  lol).  A couple of my thoughts on the captured theory.  I have spent some time in Asia and have been told by more than a few Asians that we (Americans) all look alike to them, as most Asians looked very similar to me until I had been there for some time.  I don't believe the Asians had seen many Europeans (just guessing) so someone of European descent would stick out in there mind but I doubt they could pick any specific one out a line-up then but is even stretched further to think they could 30 years later.   As well as the helpful witness syndrone pointed out by Marty.  They have alot of ancedotal evidence but that is all, wherein TIGHAR has ancedotal evidence as well as circumstantial evidence. 
What more or less got me off the fence is the way that TIGHAR handles the minutiae.  Most of the other theories don't deal with the minutiae because it is means nothing where TIGHAR goes the other way.  For instance, instead of excepting the explanation that all of the post loss messages were hoaxes and that people far away such as Betty could not possibly of picked up xmissions from AE I would have considered minutiae, they proved that it was not only possible but probably that she could have heard what she did and that there were no other known radios capable of broadcasting from that location in the surrounding areas.
Conspiracy Theories normally throw out evidence that doesn't support their case.  TIGHAR does not, to wit: publishing the fact that they found shell casing in the 7 site proving that others (the Coasties) could well of been the source of the evidence.  Lastly TIGHAR is not close minded about the other theories, as they pitched in on the grave dig in Saipan which is completely against the Niku theory.  Lastly, their theory evolves as the evidence mounts such as where on the reef the plane landed and such.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2010, 03:00:37 PM »

... I have spent some time in Asia and have been told by more than a few Asians that we (Americans) all look alike to them, as most Asians looked very similar to me until I had been there for some time.  I don't believe the Asians had seen many Europeans (just guessing) so someone of European descent would stick out in there mind but I doubt they could pick any specific one out a line-up then but is even stretched further to think they could 30 years later.

I speculate as well--without the least bit of evidence to back this up, so you may take this with as much salt as your doctor allows--any white woman imprisoned by the Japanese would come to resemble AE in short order: thin and clothed in a mannish fashion.

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Conspiracy Theories normally throw out evidence that doesn't support their case.  TIGHAR does not, to wit: publishing the fact that they found shell casing in the 7 site proving that others (the Coasties) could well of been the source of the evidence.

My favorite example is the way that TIGHAR tracked down the history of the navigator's bookcase that TIGHAR originally thought had to have come from the Electra.  It seems to me that TIGHAR even figured out which B24 wreck it was likely to have come from.

"The best candidate might be the B-24J that crashed on the reef at Canton in 1944 but was not salvaged.  We've long suspected that many of the B-24 parts we've found on Niku, such as the navigator's bookcase that was found a few meters from where we later found 2-2-V-1, are pieces of that wreck that washed ashore at Canton after the war and were brought home to Niku by locals who worked there" (Gillespie, Forum, 24 September 2004).

Quote
Lastly TIGHAR is not close minded about the other theories, as they pitched in on the grave dig in Saipan which is completely against the Niku theory.  Lastly, their theory evolves as the evidence mounts such as where on the reef the plane landed and such.

Link added to the grave dig in Saipan for those who are unfamiliar with that expedition.
LTM,

           Marty
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2010, 03:15:35 PM »

One of my favorite phrases, after reading so much on the TIGHAR website over the past several years, appears in the Project Research Bulletin about the heat shields (dados) found in the colonial village on Niku:  "Along the way we might also uncover information that disproves our heat shield hypothesis. (We are, by far, the leading debunker of our own theories.) That would be okay too."  I think it speaks volumes about the integrity of this entire project.
LTM,

Bruce
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #41 on: December 29, 2010, 01:15:50 PM »

Here is a fresh sample of the kind of anecdote that keeps the Japanese capture theories alive. 

Letter to the Editor: "Look here," Mariannas Variety, Thursday, December 30, 2010.  Emphasis added--MXM.

"... Here is a piece of information that might be of interest to all such researchers and others interested in the Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan mystery:  Even if others have looked here before, try again looking on Saipan if you are looking for their remains. A very close relative of mine recalled a first-hand account to me several times that seems to have some thread of truth to it. He told me and others that as a young man in 1937 on Saipan, he and a group of others saw a White (American) woman and a male companion taken prisoner by the Japanese authorities. As the two were brought down from the ship and into plain sight, he and the other observers were under armed guard. The Japanese Troops ordered all of them to 'bow low' and avert their eyes and not to look at these 'secret' prisoners.

"Human nature being what it is, he glanced time and time again at this most unusual sighting of two Americans being led under guard on Saipan Island. He saw them clearly.

"He was 23 at the time and working at the Japanese seaport (now the CPA Saipan Seaport) moving drums of water for a Japanese company that took water from the spring  to the port.  That dock area is where he saw the two white people under guard.  He couldn’t say that the Americans he saw were Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. He couldn’t say for sure what happened to them.  But it makes sense to me that the prisoners, whoever they were, were either killed here on Saipan or sent on to Japan for questioning.  If killed here, their remains might still be found. Where did they bury prisoners during that time?

"So bring your researchers and your squads of investigators and mystery detectives to Saipan and take a look for the remains here.  Wherever they crashed, they would have been brought to the main headquarters of Imperial Japan here on Saipan. Maybe they can put the Earhart mystery to rest once and for all. Or maybe not."

REP. STANLEY MCGINNIS TORRES
17th CNMI Legislature

Here are the kind of questions that spring to mind immediately:
  • What is the name of the 23-year-old?
  • Is he alive today?
  • Did he document the sighting in 1937?
  • Did anyone else confirm his story in writing?
  • How many European, half-European, or Eurasian women were taken captive by the Japanese?
  • Where did the Japanese bury prisoners on Saipan?
  • Are there burial records?
  • Are the graves marked?
  • How many graves or grave sites are there?
  • How much would it cost to exhume all the graves?
  • How much money is Rep. Torres willing to invest in doing the research?

Since neither Rep. Torres nor his informant know whether the woman prisoner died on Saipan, it could well be that opening every grave and testing every set of remains would turn up negative.  While it is true that this would be a very scientific enterprise that might have the chance of proving conclusively that AE and FN were not buried in any of the graves that were exhumed, it seems like a pretty expensive proposition for that kind of finding--no matter how much scientists love to falsify hypotheses.

None of these questions suggest that the Japanese capture theory is false.  They do show why I am personally not inclined to accept Rep. Torres' invitation to go search Saipan.
LTM,

           Marty
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2011, 11:13:18 AM »

sounds almost like a quote from MR Goerners book of the mid 1960's.
Tom
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2011, 11:26:28 AM »

I knew Fred Goerner.  He was a fine gentleman and a dedicated researcher. I think his biggest problem in his Earhart investigations was that his training was in journalism (he was a CBS Radio reporter by trade) rather than in historical research.  He put a great deal of faith in peoples' recollections of events 30 years or more in the past instead of relying on primary source documentation. He also had no background in aviation which is a huge disadvantage when investigating an aviation mystery. Fred corresponded with me and other TIGHAR members prior to his death in 1994.  By that time he had changed his mind about some of the conclusions he had stated in his book.

In a letter to TIGHAR member Rob Gerth dated April 13, 1989, Goerner wrote,
< "I truly believed the north of course theory was the most probable when I wrote THE SEARCH FOR AE in 1966, and I chose Mili as the most logical landing place. Through the assistance of Dr. Dirk Ballendorf, who was Deputy Director for our U.S. Peace Corps activities in the Pacific, I was able to disabuse myself of that notion."

Goerner goes on to deride the later researchers who found support for his original conjecture. "It is more than a little surprising that Vincent Loomis, Oliver Knaggs, Buddy Brennan, Paul Bryce, Jim Slade amd all; of the other people who visited Mili in the late 1970's and early 1980's and made such extravagant and unsupportable claims, did not even attempt to contact me before they made their 'expeditions.">

What jumps out at me is his statement, "I chose Mili as the most logical landing place."  For the Japanese Capture Crowd, an Earhart landing at Mili has become an item of faith.  Turns out that Fred made it up. 

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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Japanese capture theories
« Reply #44 on: January 07, 2011, 11:29:43 AM »

For my 2 cents worth Ric---YOU are on the right track, and will find the answers.
Tom
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